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George S. Bethell first appears in city directories as architect in 1854 and as city surveyor in 1856; thereafter he remains as architect through 1880. During the 1860s he designed several Philadelphia schools and was a finalist in the Philadelphia City Hall competition.

In 1866 Bethell designed the Philadelphia Wigwam for the Johnson Union Convention on Girard Avenue between 20th and 21st streets in Philadelphia. This temporary building was intended for the use of President Andrew Johnson's supporters, and it represented a collaboration between Bethell's architectural efforts and the building skills of Jacob W. Colladay. According to the Sunday Mercury, which published an illustration and long description of the building on 12 August 1866, "When finished, it will be the largest structure ever constructed for political purposes."

Written by Sandra L. Tatman.

School Affiliations

  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts


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